Social Darwinism has led to, and became an excuse for racism and persecution for many, many years, and such thought is still within all of us.
Do you believe that Social Darwinism is true, or is it just a man made excuse for racism? Do you believe that a society's capability for survival is purely genetic, mental or dependent on the surroundings? And finally, Is it right or wrong?
26th May 2003
I believe Social Darwinism is true, but it's misapplied when someone uses it to say that racism is justified. Simply because a society, by virtue of the resources available to it or by the structure it has acquired, is in some sense more adapted to survive in this world than another does not mean that it is more worthy of that survival.
In my opinion, Social Darwinism is certainly a real phenomenon, however, not necessarily for the reasons originally attributed to it. I do not believe that the disadvantages of some societies are hereditary or genetic. Some societies were simply placed at a disadvantage by the environment, and others, due to outside influence were “forced” to live with the mentality of a worse culture, thus, destroying all potential. Social Darwinism is both positive and negative. From a humanitarian aspect, it is terrible, cold and cruel. However when looked at in the big picture, it may be the key to human survival as a race.
26th May 2003
Cold and cruel? Social Darwinism is simply an account of how some societies got to be stronger than others based on the environments they were exposed to and how this effected their social structure, it says nothing about the morality of humanitarianism.
Social Darwinism is a very broad term really. Often it was misconstrued to form a racist or extremely elitist mentality. Part of what Social Darwinism meant throughout history is that those cultures who did not perform as effectively, should be exterminated or left for "natural selection" to do it's job end eventually destroy the people. So from a humanitarian point of view, to leave a single person alone for death is a terrible thing to do. The Social Darwinism present in history for a long time did just that. (Yes, that is not what Social Darwinism originally meant, but has been taken to such levels). However on a broader scale, what is one death, or even the death of a hundred if it leaves room for other, superior beings.
Thus, I refute thee.
7th May 2004
I have to say that I generally agree with what has been said so far; any point that I could make, has already been.
1st September 2002
Metall_pingwin;4184526Do you believe that a society's capability for survival is purely genetic, mental or dependent on the surroundings? And finally, Is it right or wrong?
Well, in today's society really anyone can "survive".
Anyway, I believe the idea of Social Darwinism is rather contradictory. Most people who advocate it are usually pretty dumb, if you ask me and that kind of contradicts with the idea of survival of the smartest, fittest, overall best.
Then again, there are (?) and have been intelligent advocates of it, no objections. Goebbels for one sure knew his shit. ;)
What would seem more interesting to me is, what causes people to advocate racism, social darwinism and/or extinction of other people? Too few of mommy's hugs? =p
26th May 2003
tyrannicida;4184721Well, in today's society really anyone can "survive".
Anyway, I believe the idea of Social Darwinism is rather contradictory. Most people who advocate it are usually pretty dumb, if you ask me and that kind of contradicts with the idea of survival of the smartest, fittest, overall best.[/QUOTE]
If it's right it's right, if it's wrong it's wrong, regardless of who's saying it. An argument is not rendered valid or invalid by the people that advocate it.
[QUOTE=tyrannicida;4184721]What would seem more interesting to me is, what causes people to advocate racism, social darwinism and/or extinction of other people? Too few of mommy's hugs? =p
The political system that has been built on the back of Social Darwinism by the corrupt and the insane is not the thing itself. Those who advocate it are not automatically suggesting that one group is more deserving of existence than any other, nor that it is in an absolute sense superior, just that it's more likely to continue itself. Even to advocate the elimination of another people does not necessarily incurring either social Darwinism or racism. To attempt to find a singular cause for all of the above in one when they're separate concepts with their own distinct causes, some of them not even belonging in the same category, would be an extreme generalisation.
Has mutated into a Lurker
13th March 2005
As humanity is itself a part of nature, nature's laws sure apply to us too.
But as Social Darwinism describes it, survival of the fittest, I don't think that applies to human societies, at least not in this age. It's not like our different societies are different species or different races who just have to fight each other for survival. Not only because we are one species, but becuase we are sentient which makes us individuals and not part of a simple-minded collective. Thus every simple human can evolve differently from one another, mentally, which is why people can never be grouped together like non-sentient animals can, like wolfs for example. It's not like the Arabs and the Hebrews have to annihilate each other to survive.
I've met a social darwinist who used the concept to describe that every society or ethnic group work against each other like animals do. In the end he came to the conclusion that every single one of Hungary's neighbours (he was a Hungarian) wanted to see Hungary destroyed becuase of this natural conflict and that the only ones the Hungarians could trust were the Poles (for some weird reason) or our "relatives"... the Turks. He also used it to "explain" why the Hebrews were working against every single society on the globe. Cutting it short, he was an Anti-Semite... and an educated Biologist.
Social Darwinism as the one described above I believe is complete bull. Of course nature's laws apply to us to, but becuase we are sentient we are not bound by them as much as non-sentient creatures are.
If this post seems strange it's because I'm more or less mentally exhausted, I had some big exams in French earlier today, followed shortly by P.E. ... I hate P.E. -_-
in spite of erosion
13th May 2004
As a system of ethics, "Social Darwinism", or at least the pop varieties I've seen, is rubbish. I mean the "the strong should overtake the weak" kind of junk. Accidents of physics and chemistry, resulting in evolution, resulting in the advantages and disadvantages we are equipped with today, as a species and as a part of the living world, have no weight on the philosophy of the issue.
While Social Darwinism can describe who can or cannot survive, it is irrational to extend that in to the realm of deciding who ought or ought not survive.
As Neberbord brought up, our capacities allow and perhaps even encourage systems of coexistence. There isn't any reason to deny peace to some because of the color of their skin, or anything like that.