1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured Help discredit Social Darwinism

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by danieldemol, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,342
    Ratings:
    +3,791
    Religion:
    Spiritual but not religious
    Here should be an easy task for the esteemed members of RF,

    Help discredit Social Darwinism.

    First some background;

    'Social Darwinism has many definitions, and some of them are incompatible with each other. As such, social Darwinism has been criticized for being an inconsistent philosophy, which does not lead to any clear political conclusions. For example, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics states:

    Part of the difficulty in establishing sensible and consistent usage is that commitment to the biology of natural selection and to 'survival of the fittest' entailed nothing uniform either for sociological method or for political doctrine. A 'social Darwinist' could just as well be a defender of laissez-faire as a defender of state socialism, just as much an imperialist as a domestic eugenist.[75]'

    Source: Social Darwinism - Wikipedia

    So here is the definition of Social Darwinism that I am asking you to discredit;

    'Social Darwinism, the theory that human groups and races are subject to the same laws of natural selection as Charles Darwin perceived in plants and animals in nature.'

    Source: social Darwinism | Definition & Facts

    So basically what I am thinking of as an example is suppose humans as a group raise the environmental temperature too high for human survival, then the human race becomes extinguished but bacteria survives. Is this an example of humans being subjected to the laws of natural selection that occur in plants and animals?

    Could a selective process of sorts also apply to human groups, for example what has become more dominant, industrial societies or hunter gatherer societies?

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  2. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Messages:
    2,707
    Ratings:
    +1,309
    Religion:
    Some Nonsense
    You mean the ideology that was used for decades for racist ends to justify colonialism, eugenics and genocide?

    How about it's not only morally reprehensible on every level imaginable, it's also just flat out nonsense with no basis in scientific research?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Labourwave

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,667
    Ratings:
    +3,626
    This is a bad intro to 'social darwinism'. The laws of natural selection do apply to humans, but social darwinism is a eugenic philosophy which tries to sell us a malthusian worldview from this fact.
     
    • Winner Winner x 3
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Messages:
    2,707
    Ratings:
    +1,309
    Religion:
    Some Nonsense
    Okay, first of all, evolutionary pressures only apply to genetic, inheritable traits of individuals that can therefore be passed down to further generations. Since societies and groups are neither genetic nor inheritable, those are already right out.

    Second of all, the process we're talking about is one that takes a long time, far longer than recorded human history.

    What you are describing (industrial societies dominating hunter-gatherer cultures and/or wiping them out) has nothing to do with evolution, it's just plain old warfare, waged for the sake of greed, exploitation, or hatred.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,342
    Ratings:
    +3,791
    Religion:
    Spiritual but not religious
    Thanks for responding.
    Do you think that human individuals do not have genetically inheritable traits which can be passed down, and which may affect their ability to survive without the intervention of more survivable humans?

    Are morals such as empathy and compassion all learned or partially genetic?

    What about non genetic things which nontheless seem to be inheritable (I'm thinking of cultural memes here)? For example suppose if a society which largely frowns upon science and technology where to come to be at war with a society which largely favours science and technology?
     
  6. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,342
    Ratings:
    +3,791
    Religion:
    Spiritual but not religious
    Thanks, I agree it is a bad intro to social darwinism, and that the laws of natural selection do apply to humans, alas it is the intro given by encyclopedia brittanica in the article quoted in the OP, and one which I feel people may use to misdiagnose certain beliefs as social darwinism based on an excessively cursory reading of the article
     
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    55,518
    Ratings:
    +25,022
    Religion:
    Love
    • Like Like x 3
  8. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,342
    Ratings:
    +3,791
    Religion:
    Spiritual but not religious
    Thanks for your comment, but wouldn't the evolutionary value of co-operation imply that selective pressures act on and favour co-operative species (such as humans), and thus make the Encyclopedia Britannica intro in the OP a bad introduction to Social Darwinism?
     
  9. The Hammer

    The Hammer White Wolf - kvite ulfh
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    3,941
    Ratings:
    +3,855
    Religion:
    Druidry
    Social Darwinism is what allowed for the rise of the Nazis in Germany. That's a mark against it enough in my book.
     
  10. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,342
    Ratings:
    +3,791
    Religion:
    Spiritual but not religious
    If we are going off the excessively narrow definition given in the OP - that social darwinism is the belief that natural selection applies to humans as to plants and animals - I disagree.

    I would argue that it is the belief that something occurring naturally makes it good or right that empowered the Nazis. One may believe that natural selection applies to humans without believing that it is necessarily a good or beneficial thing to occur.
     
  11. The Hammer

    The Hammer White Wolf - kvite ulfh
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    3,941
    Ratings:
    +3,855
    Religion:
    Druidry
    https://www.historyhit.com/social-darwinism-in-nazi-germany/
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,342
    Ratings:
    +3,791
    Religion:
    Spiritual but not religious
    I think you're link re-inforces the point that it was the view that the natural order is morally correct that empowered the Nazis.

    Consider the observation that gay people don't naturally reproduce vs the belief it is a morally good thing they don't reproduce. The observation is honest, the belief is used to persecute gay people. But the honest observation does not empower the belief.

    Neither does the honest observation that humans are acted on by selective pressures empower the belief that it is morally right that the natural order should be allowed to prevail or even embraced.

    You have to use a definition of social Darwinism which encompasses the idea that natural selection should be assisted by humans to argue that it empowered the Nazis. And that the out of context definition given by the Brittanica article did not cover such a definition. Therefore it is imo demonstrably wrong to call the belief that humans are acted upon by selective pressures "Social Darwinism" and claim it empowered the Nazis when such an honest observation did no such thing.
     
    • Creative Creative x 1
  13. Hellbound Serpiente

    Hellbound Serpiente Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Messages:
    455
    Ratings:
    +603
    Religion:
    None
    • Useful Useful x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    Messages:
    13,424
    Ratings:
    +4,750
    Religion:
    Pelagianism
    I believe the State should help those who are, due to disabilities or other disadvantages, less likely to have a dignifying life.
    So I am against the law of the fittest.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Hellbound Serpiente

    Hellbound Serpiente Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Messages:
    455
    Ratings:
    +603
    Religion:
    None
    A point to be taken in consideration that the theory cannot be falsified, and as such, it's useless. It's pseudoscience. It is the job of those who purpose the theory to prove it right.
     
  16. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,342
    Ratings:
    +3,791
    Religion:
    Spiritual but not religious
    Just to be clear, are you calling the definition of rational wiki pseudo-science or did you read the OP and hopefully realise i am not talking about the proper definition, but rather social Darwinism as alternatively defined as believing that natural selective pressures apply to humans.

    Because if humans where to get wiped out by an excessive rise in temperature and bacteria were to survive that is definitely falsifiable, we just wouldn't demonstrate its falsifiability due to moral implications
     
  17. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    5,882
    Ratings:
    +4,866
    Religion:
    none
    The Theory of Evolution decidedly only works on groups of individuals who are capable of reproduction with random mutations. Thus it can never be applied to the group itself (unless you define a mechanism such as calling a splitting group reproduction).

    Evolution in a broader sense, like in the evolution of languages, can be applied to groups and the mechanisms of (natural?) selection apply without having a defined reproduction. In that case one has to be very careful with the "group" definition.
    E.g. given the group is nation states, then there seems to be a selection pressure favouring democratic government.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    5,882
    Ratings:
    +4,866
    Religion:
    none
    Applying social Darwinism to countries that have dealt in colonialism, eugenics and genocide shows me that they have all gone the way of the Dodo. There is a selection pressure against those countries.
     
  19. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Messages:
    18,836
    Ratings:
    +9,599
    Religion:
    None
    Whoever you are, wherever you are, you live on land taken by force from those who had it before.
     
  20. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Messages:
    2,707
    Ratings:
    +1,309
    Religion:
    Some Nonsense
    I have no idea what you are talking about here. Could you unpack that question a bit?

    Our genes are little more than a collection of encymes that cause our bodies to grow and change in specific ways.
    Unless you want to posit a literal physical component to morality it can't even be genetic to begin with; and as far as I know there has been no evidence of such, either.

    Human technology is not a genetic trait, and neither are universities or other organized institutions of learning. Further, the conception of science and technology as distinct areas of human socio-economic endeavour is fairly recent and did not exist for most of human history, and certainly not human prehistory. There is also no scientific evidence that "cultural memes" even exist or are anything more than a particularly creative analogy to say "humans learn from one another sometimes".
     
Loading...