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Social Darwinsim Essay

615 words - 2 pages

SOCIAL DARWINISM is the idea that, or theory rather, that persons, groups, and races are subject to the same laws of natural selection as Charles Darwin had perceived in plants and animals in nature. Steven Jay Gould does not get to this extremely condensed point until the middle of the article, which is titled "This View of Life." This theory is supported on the causes of change and stability in a biological system, and a supposedly direct affect of biology on social situations. This theory of Social Darwinism has often been used, as pointed out by the article, to explain social or biological inequalities, and the fact that they are unavoidable. Gould points out that the theory of Social Darwinism can be seen as "the most overextended application of biological evolution to patterns of human history." It is hard to understand the true origin of man by just completely understanding the theory of Social Darwinism. Although it does give good insight to where humans today came from, there are some holes. Darwinism in itself, the theory of natural selection, in terms of population and belief numbers, is at its peak now. One question about natural selection does remain, "If a struggle for existence regulated the evolution of organisms, wouldn't a similar principle also explain the history of just about anything"¦?" The theory of natural selection does make sense, however it only works for certain kinds of systems. Hence, natural selection cannot explain or justify everything in history, namely cultural evolution. Another theory, called the mechanism of Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characters, could explain the passage of intelligence by direct education. Lamarckian theory, which comes from Jean Pierre Lamarck, a noted evolutionist (1744-1829) has a fundamentally different theorem than that of Darwin. His most famous work, "Inheritance of acquired characteristics,"...

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