Misconception: “Evolution supports the idea that ‘might makes right’ and rationalizes the oppression of some people by others.”


Response: In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a philosophy called “Social Darwinism” arose from a misguided effort to apply lessons from biological evolution to society. According to this view, society should allow the weak and less fit to fail and die, and that this is not only good policy, but morally right. Supposedly, evolution by natural selection provided support for these ideas. Pre-existing prejudices were rationalized by the notion that colonized nations, poor people, or disadvantaged minorities must have deserved their situations because they were “less fit” than those who were better off. This misapplication of science was used to promote social and political agendas.

The “science” of Social Darwinism was refuted. Biological evolution has stood the test of time, but Social Darwinism has not.

Visit the Talk Origins Archives for more information on Social Darwinism.


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Misconceptions: Evolution and Religion

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