Monday, August 04, 2008

Social Darwinism

Reading this post from Pharyngula where Prof. Myers had this beautiful statement:
"What logically follows from Darwin's theory is that fit individuals are those that survive and have offspring. There is no presumption that there is only one possible strategy to accomplish that survival: if we maintain a state that helps the weak and sick live and have children, then we have increased their fitness.

Maybe it's just me, but I read the truth of evolution as saying that we can work to oppose brute nature and make life better for our fellow human beings, or we can surrender and refuse to resist nature's course. We have a choice. You can be an enabler of greater rates of selection (using arbitrary criteria that may not generate enhanced survival for anything but the select occupants of a totalitarian state!) or you can work for a better life for more."
and then saw this comment from Wowbagger and was just struck by it. I really haven't thought about this subject from this perspective.
"Apart from anything else the use of Social Darwinism is automatically flawed because it relies on the assumption that the qualities the selectors are favouring (which, unsurprisingly, tend to be those they happen themselves to possess) are inherently beneficial to fitness.

Just because someone likes tall, blonde people doesn't mean they're going to survive better than short dark people."

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