Social Darwinism Is Back
If you thought Social Darwinism went out with eugenics, look at what leaders of social policy are saying.
Some evolutionists like to point out that evolutionary theory has come a long way since Darwin, but the language in this press release from the University of Sheffield sounds fresh out of The Origin of Species. Here is Science Daily‘s copy:
Survival of the fittest: Evolution continues despite low mortality and fertility rates in modern world.
Charles Darwin’s theory on evolution still holds true despite lower mortality and fertility rates in the modern world, according to new research.
The University lists these bullet points from a study of Finnish families collected from church records from the 1700s till today:
- Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ theory continues to shape human evolution
- Study shows genetic influence on family size is higher in recent times
- Research will help predict what the population will look like in the face of global challenges like an ageing society
The upshot of the study is that despite changes in birth control and social norms over the last 300 years, Darwin’s “natural selection” still operates on human populations. It’s a short step from treating humans as products of selection to creating public policies to control that selection. Although these researchers make no mention of public policy, they do juxtapose two highly-charged phrases: “survival of the fittest” and “global challenges.” Those concepts fueled the atrocities of eugenics from Darwin’s day until the end of World War II, when the world had to face its bitter consequences. But though eugenics and its philosophical foundation, “social Darwinism” lost popularity, this press release shows that the core concepts are still alive. The researchers published their “findings” in the journal Evolution.
John West of the Discovery Institute has just updated his 2007 magnum opus, Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science. The first edition chronicled in withering detail, with thousands of references, the social consequences of Darwinian thinking and its incumbent scientific materialism on criminal law, business, psychology, racial politics, welfare, education, abortion, euthanasia, population control and more. His chapter on eugenics is particularly disturbing. He presents quote after quote from prominent political leaders, academics and scientists who felt that Darwin’s “law” of natural selection made it mandatory to save the “purity of the race” by weeding out “defectives” and “morons” and the “feebleminded” through forced sterilization and other means. These statements all preceded Hitler. In America, tens of thousands of people in 16 states were sterilized without their knowledge or consent after being judged “defective” by dubious standards. The practice was justified by the Supreme Court under Oliver Wendell Holmes, who made the chilling statement in Buck vs. Bell (1927), “Three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Only one justice, a Catholic, dissented from the court’s shameful decision. Yet Carrie Buck, the woman forcibly sterilized after being judged a “moron,” lived as a productive member of society till her death in 1983.
Lest anyone think that couldn’t happen today, John West has sobering news. His updated paperback edition of Darwin Day in America, released yesterday, contains new information since 2007, including the Obama administration’s science policies, where ethics takes a back seat to “totalitarian science” as West calls it. The uptick in “scientism” he documents has occurred on both the Left (e.g., Eric Pianka) and the Right (e.g., John Derbyshire, Francis Collins). On both poles of the political divide, Darwinian thinking is paramount. An excerpt from the new edition of Darwin Day has just been published online by World Magazine. See also a video preview posted on Evolution News & Views.
Darwinian thinking leads to the devaluing of human life, because human exceptionalism went out with rejection of Judeo-Christian values. Humans, in the Darwinian view, are nothing more than another form of animal evolving by natural selection. The social consequences of this idea are detailed by John West, and also by Wesley J. Smith in his recent book The War on Humans (see the website for a movie about the content). On Evolution News & Views, Smith shows that the devaluation of human life is ongoing in the news, such as the UK’s recent approval of three-parent babies despite ethical concerns over destroying human embryos, and in Canada’s vote to allow Belgian-style euthaniasia.
It remains to be seen how big this year’s “Darwin Day” celebrations will be on Thursday, Feb. 12 (Darwin’s birthday). Perhaps in no other era in human history has it been demonstrated so clearly, and so catastrophically: “Ideas have consequences.”
This is why we keep on. The battle over creation vs evolution is much more than a debate over the interpretation of various biological and geological facts. It is a battle of worldviews, with extreme consequences for each of us. Do you want a loving caretaker to stand with you in your hour of need, or a government bureacracy deciding you are unfit to live? What teachers poisoned a young man’s heart so that he said and did this, as retold by John West:
A similar Darwinian worldview inspired ecoterrorist James Lee, who in 2010 took staff of the Discovery Channel hostage. Lee called on the Discovery Channel to “talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people’s brains until they get it!” Lee’s stated goal was to save “what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!”
The toxic attitudes of the Social Darwinists are coming back with a vengeance right now. In a sense, this is like the 1930s all over again, right before global conflict broke out, bringing death and destruction to millions. On one hand we have radical religionists following Islam with their minds closed to reason; on the other, evolutionists who think they are using reason but are destroying reason with their pseudoscientific religion of scientism. Both sides are capable of unspeakable atrocities. Nevertheless, the light of the Creator continues to shine like a lighthouse through the darkness, calling us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Those two principles could rescue the world and everyone in it.