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  1. #11
    Junior Member Trovador's Avatar
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    A point, Ezra, is that helping the "weakest" is a way of surviving, by getting both a united specie and a social bonus, being more well regarded by the others and, thus, surviving. Social Evolution (and so Social Darwinism) do occur, but not by the usual way: helping the least adapted to survive is itself a tool to survive.
    I think that the theme that is often discussed is, actualy, in what ways it would be executed, as the selection by the society of those who are better adapted is a fact. Otherwise it would continue as it was when first appeared, or, by the "mutations",it would grow randomly and get destroyed by the time.

  2. #12
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Maybe looking at it in terms of such a broad distant light as "species" is the wrong focus.

    Individually is how we each deal with handicapped people or otherwise. Individuals are who interacts with the weaker members (in terms of survival) of the human race, providing compassion and enabling them to survive. Individuals do this. Thus, we can't look at this through a broad diffuse light, we have a tight spotlight on the individual interactions between people.

    Individuals are not blind processes, we feel as if we have volition, we feel empathy for tangible people with faces, most of us seem to want to help people in need. Humans simply have a quality of empathy on the individual level (at least, many do), and this quality of empathy brings people to help those they know who are in need.

    It's probably tied into the same feelings that encourage individuals to protect/help their family, friends, and anyone else who is part of their self-identified "group."
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #13
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    The salient point is that Social Darwinism is based on a misunderstanding of, "The Origin Of Species", by Charles Darwin.

    Social Darwinism has no intellectual validity.

    Victor.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The salient point is that Social Darwinism is based on a misunderstanding of, "The Origin Of Species", by Charles Darwin.

    Social Darwinism has no intellectual validity.

    Victor.
    Arguing the pros and cons of Social Darwinism is like arguing the pros and cons of phlogiston.

    Victor.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Social Darwinism has no intellectual validity.
    But the father of Social Darwinism, Herbert Spencer, had a great deal of validity in his day--during his lifetime, roughly 1 million copies of his books were sold and had been translated into several different languages. As a philosopher, he expounded on many subjects, but is remembered mainly for his (generally maligned) political theory. Which makes one wonder:

    1. Were his theories on ethics, religion, biology, sociology and psychology equally flawed? Was the guy simply an elitist jerk, or did some of his other ideas have relevance?

    2. Who among our modern-day thought leaders is wildly popular at present, but will be repudiated (for that matter, do we even have any thought leaders who aren't a corporate brand?)

    3. And, of course, what Type was he?

    Bonus question: Was Herbert Spencer related to Diana Spencer, Queen of Hearts?

  6. #16
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    When Social Darwinism is applied to arbitrary characteristics such as skin color, it is only a means of justifying one group oppressing another group. Historically, all great social change has been the result of group solidarity and in that regard, Social Darwinism demonstrates that some groups are superior to their oppressors. But that is not a result of the group's arbitrary characteristic, but rather their ability to band together and organize as individuals into strong social groups. I admire the African American Civil Rights movement just for this reason. It demonstrates one key factor that Social Darwinism overlooks. Humans are interdependent on each other. Competition is only one piece of the picture because humans are also reliant on each other to cooperate. So like most philosophies, Social Darwinism is incomplete.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  7. #17
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The salient point is that Social Darwinism is based on a misunderstanding of, "The Origin Of Species", by Charles Darwin.

    Social Darwinism has no intellectual validity.

    Victor.
    And Darwin's The Origin of Species is based on a misunderstanding of natural evil. Thus, Social Darwinism is twice removed from intellecutal validity.

    But do you think that social darwinism has no explanatory power? Could it not be weakened to say that there are no naturally superior people, but there are superior cultures?

  8. #18
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    But do you think that social darwinism has no explanatory power? Could it not be weakened to say that there are no naturally superior people, but there are superior cultures?
    What makes one culture superior to another?

    I would say the cultures that fair the best are the ones that support the greatest diversity of beliefs and people. The greater the diversity the more competition of ideas and the greater variety of outcomes. That was part of the argument Hitler made for the preservation of Germany since he believed they were losing their best and brightest to America, which would ultimately come to rule the world. Diversity is key to Social Darwinism, otherwise the theory is useless.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  9. #19
    a white iris elfinchilde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    Why do more people not abide by this view? Is it because of its Nazi associations, and they're ashamed? Or is it because the human race is inherently compassionate and cares about those who cannot help themselves? Why is it that we help the disabled? Were they 'meant' to die out? Should we leave them to do so? And should we treat disabled members of our family differently to other disabled people?
    sigh.i'm horrifically bored now. May i offer a twist to the perspective of kindness? (ie, not my own view, but one that can be considered as a raison d'etre for kindness):

    Because humans exist in a social structure. To be social means to be hierarchial.

    but it is never a simple thing of just boosting your own position: you need others to acknowledge your superiority.

    So for alpha males, for instance, because they are at the lead of the game, they can afford to be directly Darwinian and push ahead.

    But for betas, if they choose to do so, they will only lose.

    Remember the 2nd half of the Darwinian principle: Adaptability is the key to survival.

    So what's a beta gotta do to be perceived at the top of another niche (the first being filled by the alphas)?

    Be kind.

    Because then, you gain social currency. Philantrophy is a great way of boosting one's self image in the eyes of others.

    ie, you help others so as to boost your own self image, others' perception of you.

    So it is still social darwinism, but in an infinitely more subtle way. That's why celebrities always do social work after they've committed something against the public's perception. Donations, helping out at some charity, blah blah blah.

    It boils down to the same thing, doesn't it?

    One more point: by helping others up, you're actually putting them in their place, beneath you.

    Because what defines who's at the top? Acknowledged superiority in the way of tyrants, OR, popular support.

    All part of hierarchy. Kindness can hence be explained as a means of promoting one's social standing.

    Food for thought.
    You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
    They called me the hyacinth girl.
    Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
    Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
    Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
    Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
    Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

    --T.S Eliot, The Wasteland

  10. #20
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    What makes one culture superior to another?

    I would say the cultures that fair the best are the ones that support the greatest diversity of beliefs and people. The greater the diversity the more competition of ideas and the greater variety of outcomes. That was part of the argument Hitler made for the preservation of Germany since he believed they were losing their best and brightest to America, which would ultimately come to rule the world. Diversity is key to Social Darwinism, otherwise the theory is useless.
    "A culture thrives or dies relative to its ability to make sense of the world." Surrendra Gangadean

    I agree that the most successful cultures have been those that supported the greatest diversity of beliefs and people, but I don't think that it is diversity alone that makes a culture great.

    Human beings are rational, with the capacity and need to understand. When ideas are allowed to compete, people gravitate to those that do the best job of interpreting their experience. The truth is the most rational interpretation, and so a culture that does not hinder its members from seeking the truth will (ordinarily) have a greater number of members who know the truth (b/c interpretation is a function of rationality) than cultures that suppress the truth, or use physical coercion to enforce cultural homogeneity.

    What makes a culture good or bad (and thus superior or inferior to other cultures) is relative to the degree of understanding of the truth that is diffused throughout it. (With the more truth the better, of course.) When a person knows the truth, the more potent/efficacious his acts are. Thus, the more people a culture has that know the truth and act in accordance with it, the more rich and powerful it will be.

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