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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CA002.1:

Darwinism leads to social Darwinism, the policy that the weak should be allowed to fail and die.


Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 179.


  1. This is an example of the naturalistic fallacy -- the argument that how things are implies how they ought to be. But "is" does not imply "ought." Evolution only tells how things are; it does not say how they should be.

  2. The source of social Darwinism was not Darwin but Herbert Spencer and the tradition of Protestant nonconformism going back to Hobbes via Malthus. Spencer's ideas of evolution were Lamarckian. The only real connection between Darwinism and social Darwinism is the name.

  3. Diverse political and religious ideas draw upon evolutionary biology, including ideas advocating greater cooperation.

  4. Evolutionary theory shows us that the long-term survival of a species is strongly linked with its genetic variability. All Social Darwinist programs advocate minimizing genetic variability, thus reducing chances of long-term survival in the event of environmental change. An understanding of evolution should then rebuke any attempt at social Darwinism if the long-term survival of humanity is treated as a goal.

  5. Eugenics and social Darwinian accounts are more often tied to the rise of the science of genetics than to evolutionary theory.


Wilkins, John, 1997. Evolution and philosophy: Does evolution make might right?

Further Reading:

Bannister, R. C., 1979. Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo-American Social Thought. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Bowler, P. J., 1993. Biology and Social Thought, 1850-1914. Berkeley papers in history of science; 15. Berkeley, Calif., Office for History of Science and Technology University of California at Berkeley: 95.

Hofstadter, R., 1944. Social Darwinism in American Thought. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Kevles, D., 1995. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. New York: Knopf.

Ruse, Michael, 2001. Social Darwinism. Chapter 10 in: Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?, Cambridge University Press.

Singer, P., 2000. A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation. New Haven: Yale University Press.
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created 2003-4-21, modified 2003-9-26