Monday, October 29, 2007

Social Darwinism

This is the Wikipedia entry on Social Darwinism. Darwin's philosophy has given rise to social and ethical ideas which strike me as extremely dubious morally, and I would like to see evolutionists argue successfully that these conclusions are misguded applications of Darwinian philosophy.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Darwinian philosophy'

Isn't that a bit like 'electrical philosophy' or 'gravitational philosophy'?

Hiero5ant said...

Wasn't it only a few short weeks ago that you were crowing about how neodarwinionaturalist atheists can supply no arguments for objective moral values of any kind?

What, may I ask, persuaded you in the interim to conclude that people who accept modern science in fact bear a positive burden to demonstrate that eugenics is not an inevitable conclusion of physicalatheodarwinnaturalism?

Jeff G said...

Why is it not as easy as pointing to an is/ought gap? Sure, natural selection applies to social issues whether we want them to or not. I see no reason to think, however, that Darwinism entails what we ought to do with regard to helping selective pressure and the like. In other words, I don't see how Darwinian evolution entails social policy of any kind at all.

Victor Reppert said...

If the Social Darwinist or eugenicist is claiming an objective legitimacy for eugenics based on Darwinism, then of course the answer is easy. But what if they are basing their preferences on the perfectly natural but admittedly subjective desire to be on the winning side?

Sturgeon's Lawyer said...

Victor,

The argument that social Darwinism does not follow from Darwinism is simple, and one that Lewis would have recognized.

It is summed up in the phrase, "You can't get a 'should' from an 'is.'"

In other words: the evolutionary doctrine of "survival of the fittest" does not provide us with a moral warrant to allow only the "fittest" to survive.

(As a side note, "fitness" in evolution is a complex thing that, for many species, including humans, includes cooperation and assisting others - at a minimum, relatives or members of the same "pack," "troop," etc. - when they would not be "fit" on their own.)

Jason said...

May I hear what you think is dubious specifically?