Is social darwinism in society increasing?

Scientists claim that the teaching of evolution does not lead to social Darwinism but yet the Darwin awards are very popular among young people, especially among atheists, scientific skeptics, and other scientifically minded people. So my question is doesn’t this show that the teaching of evolutionary theory has lead to a dangerous increase in social darwinistic thought in society?

Posted: February 19th 2013

John Sargeant www

The Darwin Awards show the rise of a sense of humour that is going to be a matter of taste, one at times I have had to question regarding the age of those nominated that have demised.

Dangerous: no (see answers below). A question of taste and sense of humour? Absolutely. When you consider that in principle ridding yourself from the gene pool early, before you become of breeding age, is something none of us would advocate in humanity.

However stupid someone’s action maybe in their demise I do not think we want people to die for us to have a good laugh. Besides their final action may not be based on genes that are hereditary.

Evolution is not a basis of moral philosophy, and the fight against eugenic thinking is something humanists should take very seriously.

Posted: May 19th 2013

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George Locke

The theory of gravity has been popular for quite a while now, but have you ever heard someone say that walking downhill is morally superior to walking uphill? Perhaps we should stop teaching gravity because of the danger of social Newtonism!

Err, no. That’s silly. Science describes how the world is, not how it ought to be.

Of course, no one advocates “social Newtonism”, whereas there are social Darwinists who do invoke Darwin in support of their position. However, this line of reasoning is absurd on its face for the same reason that Newton cannot be invoked to support “social Newtonism”. Newtonian mechanics says nothing about how humans ought to behave. It describes what is, not what ought to be. Same goes for evolutionary theory.

There’s no moral value in biological fitness. People who believe otherwise don’t understand evolution, so if you want to stop social Darwinism, you’d be better off teaching what evolution really is.

Posted: May 16th 2013

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SmartLX www

The Darwin Awards is a humourous compilation of stories of people who have killed (or in a few cases neutered) themselves through sheer stupidity. These instances of stupidity removing itself from the gene pool are examples of actual Darwinian evolution by natural selection. The concept of the Darwin Awards is funny because it successfully applies a scientific principle to the ridiculous, creating an excellent contrast.

Social Darwinism is the idea of social groups or classes (as opposed to individuals) behaving in a Darwinian manner, for instance the working class struggling against the bourgoisie. Generally speaking this kind of thinking has declined dramatically since the early 20th century, as class systems have broken down all over the world. It also has nothing whatever to do with the Darwin Awards.

Darwinian evolution is not a guide for one’s actions, and it is not taught as such. It is merely an explanation of how the many varied life forms have come to be, and a very powerful explanation at that. Social Darwinism does purport to be a guide for advancing your own group, class, club, tribe, company or whatever at the expense of others. It does its best to pass off Charles Darwin’s credibility as its own, but it’s a different animal and it lives or (mostly) dies on its own merits.

Meanwhile, on an ultimately unrelated note, biology teachers continue to teach Darwinian evolution as part of the history of life, simply because it is true.

Posted: April 10th 2013

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Blaise www

No. It means that people make jokes at the level of their education, and that we are finally entering an age where the majority of young people are educated enough to fully understand natural selection.

Posted: April 8th 2013

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