Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism

1187 Words5 Pages
In 1859, a biologist named Charles Darwin postulated a scientific theory, which stated that all living organisms evolved through a process of natural selection. According to Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin claimed that the offspring of a particular species gradually evolved themselves genetically to resist the changes in the environment (573). The theory contended that the organisms could adapt to the changes in the environment through the survival of the fittest. Though this theory is regarded as a breakthrough in the field of biological evolution, it is interesting to explore how this seemingly scientific theory has been suitably modified, and intellectually applied to both negative and positive aspects of life. In the documentary, The Monkey Trial by Stanley Kramer, Hitler, for instance, during the Second World War, used this scientific explanation as his reason to wipe out almost six million Jews. The Nazis believed that, they had been naturally selected to be superior to other races, especially the Jews and therefore, in order to preserve their pure race, it was important to eliminate all the Jews in Germany. This inhuman atrocity known as “The Holocaust” was a negative use of Darwin’s theory. It is also surprising to know that the main concept behind the practice of slavery was the Darwinian principle of natural selection. As Kramer puts it in his documentary, The Monkey Trial, The aristocrats thought that they had been naturally selected by God to rule the black race. Consequently, the low-ranked class was labeled by the society as ‘the unprivileged class.’ The ‘so-called’ masters believed that, in this race of the survival of the fittest, only they had the ability to survive and flourish, and thus... ... middle of paper ... ...sportation for that reason. This theory also explains how integrity, diligence, persistence play a key role in the success of individuals and therefore in the success of the entire community. Works Cited Animesh, Ayon, and Jacob. “Social Darwinism and Elitism”. Biography of Bill Gates. Narr. Harry Smith. PBS Channel 13 Special Presentation. Class Film. HSS 100-022. Spring Semester, February 8, 2002. Ford Motor Company. Hawking, Stephen. “Our Picture of the Universe.” Fields of Reading. 6th ed. Ed. Nancy R. Comely et al. New York: St. Martin’s, 2001. (565-574) The Monkey Trial. Directed and Produced by Stanley Kramer. A & E Special Presentation. American Experience. Class Film. HSS 100-022. Spring Semester, February 22, 2002.
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