Social Darwinism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Rouge47, Nov 3, 2006.

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Do you think that Social Darwinism is wrong after reading the first post?

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Neutral on Matter

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  4. Not Sure

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Rouge47

    Rouge47 Follower of Christ

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    I'm not sure if this should belong in the politics and society forum, but I do mention philosophy and technically this is a philosophy so I'll just post it here:

    I wrote a thesis paper over Social Darwinism for my english class this year, see what you guys think of it. (Bibliography included at bottom):)



    Evolution, the evolving of microorganisms into species. The chain of life itself. Evolution embraces the idea of "survival of the fittest." Charles Darwin, a well respected biologist of his time, had given birth the theory. Though in the 1800's and even still today, his ideas have been perverted into something that they are not. The idea of Darwinism (or the belief in Darwin's theories) was introduced soon after his ideas became well-known. In the 1800's this idea was turned towards humans. Some believed that certain humans were better than others. Race, religion, political beliefs, attributes, sex, and even wealth became large divisions in society. In reality, this was always the case. It was never really dubbed a name until that time. It was called, Social Darwinism. The idea of survival of the fittest was brought on into the American society by none other than Herbert Spencer. Herbert introduced the concept "that the rich and powerful shall succeed and live and that the poor and weak should fail and die" (SD1). This brought forth controversy and dismay in America. The truth is that Social Darwinism is an anathema, or corruption, to Darwin's theory of evolution. That is, Herbert's ideas completely rearrange the original theory of evolution; making it so Homo-sapiens are divided because of petty differences.
    Discrimination is defined as a false judgment against ethnicity, religion, sex, age, appearance or social status. In this case, Social Darwinism is discriminative against social status. Social Darwinism is a “term coined in the late 19th century to describe the idea that humans, like animal and plants, compete in a struggle for existence in which natural selection results in ‘survival of the fittest’” (SD2). Perverted discrimination is discrimination taken to the extent in which one group believes they are above other groups. This entails the Social Darwinist idea of “might makes right” (SD1). In the 1800’s the affluent tended to have more power in economic and even governmental affairs than the poor.
    Herbert Spencer is the man responsible for such egregious ideas. Spencer adapted Darwin’s evolutionary ideas to his own theories (SD1). However, is this argument a theory of ethics or science? Darwin was a biologist and Herbert was a socialist. It is clear to see that Social Darwinism is a socialist based group of ethics. However it brings forth Darwin’s theory of evolution and places it on mankind. The Fabians used Herbert’s ideas on their socialist movements, and according to the Fabians they “conceived of society as an organism that is evolving gradually over time (Socialism, 2231)”. Peter Dickens believes that Social Darwinism is merely ethical and that Darwinism is scientific (SD1). Social Darwinism is also based off of Socialist ideas, like Marxism. Therefore, Social Darwinism is ethical and not scientific.
    The common Social Darwinist is a drone to the mind of Spencer; carrying out unethical, discriminative thoughts towards lower social classes in America. “A Social Darwinist is someone who sees society like biology, conflict, or natural law (SD2).” Social Darwinists believe that what is natural is equivalent to what is morally correct (SD1). However, what is natural but the thoughts and philosophies of one’s self being? Normality lies within the thoughts of any individual’s mind. Therefore, normality, even the term natural, cannot be correctly or politically defined unless all of mankind agreed on the exact same thing. What is the problem with philosophy? No two people can agree on exactly the same thing. Social Darwinism is a philosophy based from the theories of Charles Darwin and evolution. It all comes down to the main point. It is simply not a question of who created man, how was the universe formed, is religion or science right? God or Big Bang? Dust or Organism? It is merely a question of ethics. Is Social Darwinism right? There is a correct answer out there. But what is it?
    Social Darwinists believed that they should not help those who are weak, because it would allow an inferior or unfit class to thrive and live (SD1). Which is more morally correct: Caring only for your status? Or caring for others, no matter their or your status? This is once again a question of ethics. Darwin wished only to explain life in biology, not life in sociology. Herbert took his ideas and twisted them into absurd and ethnological theories that corrupted the wealthy and harmed the poor in America’s reformation-imperialism ages. Evolution results more in cooperation that it does in harsh competition (Wilkins, 2). Pyotr Kropotkin, a Russian anarchist, disproved in book titled, Mutual Aid, the idea of “survival of the fittest.”
    Through in-depth analysis it can be concluded that the ideas of Social Darwinism are pernicious to society. Mixing social classes with Darwinian ideologies is similar to mixing politicians with movie stars or oil with water. Herbert Spencer’s theories and philosophies harmed American society during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and still have a prejudicial effect today. “Those who embraced Social Darwinism applied a convincing biological hypothesis to the workings of society” (Hoogenboom). Unfortunately, its “convincing” theories led to a more abrupt Darwinism.



    Bibliography Page:

    [​IMG] (SD1) TheTalk.Origins Archive, “Evoultion and Philosophy” (John S.Wilkins, pars 2 & 4).

    [​IMG] (SD2) http://library.thinkquest.org/C004367/eh4.shtml”Social Darwinism” (pars 2, 3, 9 ,10,11)

    [​IMG] “Socialism.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. 2000 ed.
    [​IMG] Hoogenboom, Ari. "Social Darwinism." In Hoogenboom, Ari, and Gary B. Nash, eds. Encyclopedia of American History: The Development of the Industrial United States, 1870 to 1899, vol. 6. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2003. Facts On File, Inc. American History Online. <www.fofweb.com>.
     
  2. Rouge47

    Rouge47 Follower of Christ

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    The paper doesn't look to long but if you double space the lines, put it in Microsoft Word, and make the font 12:Time New Roman; its about three pages.

    Author's Commentary:


    Over the years of my high school attendance I have never once written about a topic that came across as dull and boring to me as this one. I have always written about things that I wanted to or things that caught my attention right off the bat. This year was different. I was required to write about a topic that linked to U.S. History. The only thing that had even a small amount of my interest was Social Darwinism.
    Being a Christian, I was not exactly thrilled about the topic, but further research into it led me to become quite intrigued with its secrets and history. No longer do I frown on knowing such a topic. Now, I want more! I wish to forever learn about it; not because of its beliefs, but because its impact on American society. I wish to, one day, disprove the theory of Social Darwinism.
     
  3. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Not sure what you are asking for here Rouge47, a critique, proofreading or comment on the subject matter?
    Is this going to be your thesis statement? Is there an abstract? Am I to understand that the paper will not be in APA format?

    Those questions aside, I think you show a great deal of enthusiasm for your subject though it tends to ramble a bit. Be careful of using the term social darwinism in a strawman fallacy context, in some places in the text you do come dangerously close to doing so. I would begin by taking your rough draft now that you have it on paper so to speak, and begin to organize the data in a more linear fashion, beginning with your biggest beef and who you think caused it. That would be your thesis statement, then build your argument with quotes from your reference data.

    Again, not sure what you are asking for, but if this all seems pedantic just forget I said anything. and congrats on finding a new passion :0)

    Peace
     
  4. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi,

    The name of Darwin and his theory of the origination of species was crudely hijacked for political ends. Darwin therefore distanced himself from "Social Darwinism" which had nothing to do with his research and theory, except in the very crudest sense. So save yourself the effort of disproving what is bunkum!

    s.
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Ah, dicey subject...

    Let me state emphatically for the record, I am not a proponent of Social Darwinism.Let me state emphatically for the record, I am not a proponent of Social Darwinism.

    There are some interesting points I have seen, elsewhere, that while valid in a logical sense, nevertheless drew less than favorable responses on this subject. Not to mention, if I understand correctly, this is still a sensitive subject (legally) in some countries. That, and a general lack of decorum by many who broach the subject, make it a very one sided discussion. To wit: the comments of the previous poster. Either agree Social Darwinism is a "bad thing," or keep silent, but to discuss in any rational sense the subject is "verboten."

    A semi-related but intriguing subject was brought to my attention this morning. Thumbing through the November issue of Discover magazine, I stumbled on an article about "epigenetics." Perhaps better suited to the science board, even so I do think there may be philosophical ramifications that echo, at least to me, those moral quandaries brought about by Social
    Darwinism. Where SD tried to argue the point via Darwinian methodology, epigenetics could be said to reach arguably similar conclusions...by experiment and demonstration, in spite of Darwinian methodology.

    Let me re-state emphatically for the record, I am not a proponent of Social Darwinism.
     
  6. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi,

    Never heard of it - Start a thread on the science board and let's kick it around! (intellectually of course!)

    s.
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Snoopy!
    OK.
     

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