Essay on The Theory Of Social Darwinism

Essay on The Theory Of Social Darwinism

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The theory of Social Darwinism stems from the idea that the human species can progress by following the principal of Charles Darwin’s natural selection, in which he states that plants and animals that can adapt to changes in their environment are able to survive and reproduce, while those that cannot adapt will die. Social Darwinists applied this biological concept to social, political and economic issues, which created the “survival of the fittest” attitude, as well as competition and inequality between social groups. This paper will discuss some of the proponents of this theory, the results of their interpretation and application of the theory, and why this theory no longer holds a prominent position in Anthropological theory.
In 1858, Charles Darwin, an English biologist, proposed his theory of natural selection in his book, The Origin of Species. Although he found this theory to be biologically true, it was not meant to encourage or create a hierarchy of humanity. This was created by proponents of Social Darwinism who were very ethnocentric, such as Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, who took the foundation of Darwin’s theory and applied it to human society. The misinterpretation of the theory would be used to justify and promote racism, discrimination, and division among humanity.
Herbert Spencer was a proponent of Social Darwinism and first coined the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’, as he believed that only the strong would survive in society, and the weak would, and should be allowed to die. William Graham Sumner coined the term ethnocentrism, ‘the idea that our beliefs and behaviors are right and true, whereas those of other peoples are wrong or misguided’ (Robbins, 2013) and used Social Darwinism to justify ...


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...w they are living is not “good enough” or not civil enough, or as Peterson (2014) stated the YouTube video, the assumptions that primitive humans are worse off than civilized humans. However, it seems to me that they have the most reasonable and sane way of thinking and could teach the world a thing or two about humanity. Primitive societies are often Egalitarian societies in which wealth, status, and power are not recognized. As stated in our book, the key to survival of the Ju/ 'Hoansi, and by implication hunter-gatherer groups generally, is not competition, but cooperation: the ability of individuals and families to care for each other and enhance survival even of conspecifics who are not closely related genetically (Lee, 2013). Social equality is ensured through sharing, regardless of genetics, and the dog eat dog mentality is left for us “civilized humans”.


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