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Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Social Darwinism


Herbert Spencer, a 19th century philosopher, first promoted the idea of Social Darwinism.

Social Darwinism is an application of the theory of natural selection to social, political, and economic issues. In its simplest form, Social Darwinism follows the mantra of “the strong survive,” – including human issues. In that period, this theory was used to promote the idea that the white European race was superior to others, and therefore, destined to rule over them.

At the time Spencer began to promote Social Darwinism, the technology, economy, and government of the “White European” was advanced in comparison to that of other cultures. Looking at this apparent advantage, as well as the economic and military structures, some argued that natural selection was clearly playing out, and that the race more suited to survival was winning.

Some even extended this philosophy into a micro-economic issue, claiming that social welfare programs that helped the poor and disadvantaged were contrary to nature itself.

NOTE: Those who reject any and all forms of charity or governmental welfare often use arguments rooted in Social Darwinism.

There is no direct evidence that these people were members of a Republican sub-committee.


At its worst, the implications of Social Darwinism were used as scientific justification for the Holocaust. The Nazis claimed that the murder of Jews in World War II was an example of weeding out inferior genetics. Many philosophers noted evolutionary echoes in Hitler’s march to exterminate an entire race of people. Various other dictators and criminals have claimed the cause of Social Darwinism in carrying out their acts.

Is Social Darwinism a false and dangerous philosophy?

But, what about people with genetic abnormalities that can be passed on to their offspring? You can look at some children and you catch yourself asking the question “why were the parents allowed to breed”? What about people that are called into ministry because they can’t survive in the secular world and need everyone they know to support them (so they can help people?). What about companies that stubbornly raise money from investors and keep trying to sell products that can’t work? You know… The 18 month rule. /1


Scientists and evolutionists maintain that this (broad) interpretation is only loosely based on Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. However, they will admit to an obvious parallel between Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection and Spencer’s beliefs.

For example… In nature, the strong survive and those best suited to survival will out-live the weak. According to Social Darwinism, those with strength (economic, physical, technological) flourish – and, those without are destined for extinction.

It is important to note that Darwin did not extend his theories to a social or economic level, nor are any credible (surviving?) evolutionists subscribing to the theories of Social Darwinism.

I think, to be fair, Herbert Spencer’s philosophy is only loosely based on the premises of Darwin’s work.

However, according to evolutionary theory, nature is a “kill-or-be-killed” system. Those that cannot keep up are either left behind or cut off. If evolution, through chance, is solely responsible for life as we now know it, why should that process be countered? If “survival of the fittest” or “kill or be killed” cannot apply in what we define as “decent society,” then, which is wrong, society or evolution?

If neither, then how do we explain morality, charity, and compassion? Why drain resources from the strong to support the weak? Certainly, we should be charitable and help those in need. …Right?

Maybe not.

Though Darwin did not promote Social Darwinism, basic evolutionary theory raises some nagging questions.

More later. I know I am gonna get a lot of irate emails this week.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

1/ In general, if a company has not become self sustaining or self sufficient within 18 months it can/ should be considered “walking-dead”. See my dissertation of the formula for success – Product, Timing, Management, Cash and Plan.

2 Comments to

“Social Darwinism”

  1. Avatar March 2nd, 2009 at 6:33 pm gfish Says:

    If “survival of the fittest” or “kill or be killed” cannot apply in what we define as “decent society,” then, which is wrong, society or evolution?

    Actually, Social Darwinism is a major misunderstanding of evolution. It’s what happens when people read want they want to read into something, then apply their error to the outside world. Spencer completely created the saying “survival of the fittest” and said that evolution was on his side.

    Evolution isn’t about the fittest surviving. It’s about being fit enough to survive and pass on the hereditary information. It’s not applicable to our society any more than inventory management is applicable to the squirrels running around your front yard. Natural selection was supposed to be a mechanism for speciation, not a guidebook to organizing a society.

    As for the Nazi use of Social Darwinism, it extended far beyond the Jews. Almost anyone who wasn’t born with blond hair and blue eyes was inferior and the disabled and terminally ill were even more inferior and subject to “euthanasia.”

  2. Avatar March 9th, 2009 at 3:59 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    Why can’t Social Darwinism be extrapolative of Darwin’s theories around natural selection?

    Survival of the fittest and kill-or-be-killed do not need to by synonymous, or go hand-in-hand. And, survival of the fittest my enable a decent society if it can be applied in terms of diplomacy as opposed to war or physical aggression. This is where God’s gift of discernment might have a role.


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