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  1. #21
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Default A Terrible Mistake

    Look ..... Social Darwinism has nothing to do with Charles Darwin except the name.

    Charles Darwin's book, "The Origin of Species", says nothing about society.

    Social Darwinism is vulgar - it is a vulgar misinterpretation of, "The Origin of Species".

    And this vulgar misinterpretation has had a tragic effect.

    Because Creationism is a response to Social Darwinism. Creationism is not a response to the, "Origin of Species".

    So we start to see that Creationism starts to make sense. Creationism's instinct is right and that is to oppose Social Darwinism.

    But the Creationists made the simple and natural mistake of conflating Social Darwinism with Darwin's, "Origin of Species".

    This is a terrible mistake.

    Victor.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Apollonian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elfinchilde View Post
    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.
    This is an interesting point.

    When considering social darwinism, where do you draw the circle surrounding the nice closed system in which you determine your hierarchy?

    Within the circle, is the formation of a hierarchy really necessary? Or rather, is there a critical population size beyond which communism is infeasible and hierarchy must form?

    When considering two alpha males against 10 beta males who have learned to collaborate, do the alpha males really stand a chance at surviving if they insist on conflicting with the beta males? I think the point here is that "superior" individuals can be socially eliminated by "inferior", well-orchestrated groups. Similarly at the cultural or national level, small "inferior" groups (e.g. Visigoths) can overcome "superior" but stagnant groups (e.g. Roman Empire).

    In other words "superiority" is a subjective standard which fluxuates dramatically in the dynamics of social darwinism, isn't it? The "inferior" can quickly become the "superior" after sufficient adaptation. Thus, if the "superior" die out, who is to say that they were in fact "superior" to begin with when history shows them to have died out in favor of the "inferior" group?

    So, based on Elfinchilde's point, I don't think that social darwinism has much to do with the concept of "superiority" at all, but rather the more objective ideas of fitness and adaptability.

    Thus, a disabled person may be viewed as "inferior" but if he happens to be an inventor who has created for himself a functioning, robotic exoskeleton to overcome his disability, he certainly is adaptable enough to overcome non-disabled people who are lazy and do not better themselves except to wield power over their subordinates.

    Hey, I have an idea! Let's build off of each other's points and learn something from each other rather than bickering and tearing down each other's arguments before we fully understand them.

  3. #23
    Luctor et emergo Ezra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trovador View Post
    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.
    Trovador, you're not a socialist by any chance are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    When Social Darwinism is applied to arbitrary characteristics such as skin color, it is only a means of justifying one group oppressing another group.
    True, but that doesn't invalidate the theory itself. It simply points out one way in which the idea can be horrifically manipulated. In fact, most of Hitler's Nazism is a compilation of twisted interpretation of ideas.

    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.
    Very good point.

  4. #24
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    "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.
    I agree in the sense that scientific and theological innovation are a necessary component in one culture establishing it's superiority in the world theater. That is still part of what I was discussing because greater theological and scientific innovation leads to greater diversity of beliefs. Suppression of those beliefs decreases diversity and thus ability to succeed. In fact, the cultures that eventually come to fail are those who begin to suppress the sub cultures that make them up. Had Nazi Germany not chased off a good share of its brightest Jews, then the US would have been short many of its brightest members for the Manhattan project, and we could possibly be speaking Japanese right now, if not German. It could be argued we beat the Germans because they made the mistake of trying to limit their diversity and as a result, we gained bright minds in this country which ultimately lead to scientific innovation that accounts for how the US became a superpower. I'm speaking from a purely ecological perspective, but diversity is the ultimate key to a healthy community. Hence my point is that Social Darwinism holds absolutely not intellectual validity if it does not account for this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  5. #25
    Junior Member Trovador's Avatar
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    Ezra:
    Absolutely in no way! I've tried to say something like elfinchilde did, but with a lower efficiency unhappily. I know that I overweighted the "helping the poorer for social bonus" thing, an idea that I myself disagree with(I think that lots of "Ni"s also have a special hate with the society's Fe/Se focused mechanics), but it looks like to work. But not by collectivism, as the "Communist Dream" has been partially buried by the more effective philanthropy.
    I think that the capitalism's mechanics thenselves are one of the best examples of Social Darwinism: while other sistems kept the same, capitalism has changed and "evolved" by natural selection. While the Savage Capitalism from XIXth century died by being "unrespectful" with the market, the companies changed and the sistem auto-developted. Marx could be right about the capitalism that he saw to die, but, by keeping itself open for the world's development, the capitalism grew and took new shapes. (sorry for entering on this "hard" discussion) (again: there's a tendency for the Ni guys to hate socialism [and specially hate for being considered socialist]? xD)

    Victor: At least my interpretation of "Social Darwinism" is more related to Evolution of Societies than to Darwin or his works. The development of almost everything looks like to be based on its relation with the environment, societies being included here.

    elfinchilde: exactly what I was wanting to say. Exactly.

    Apollonian: yes, that is the point: the synergism, the adaptability is what count in matter of society. That is the general idea of the (darwinist)evolution, by the way.

  6. #26
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    ...Because Creationism is a response to Social Darwinism. Creationism is not a response to the, "Origin of Species".
    Umm.... wasn't creationism around centuries before Darwin?
    It just wasn't called that. It was simply accepted as the truth.

    But I quibble -- what we now today know as Creationism seems to be a social/religious reaction against the potential removal of divine origin from humanity.

    I don't think "social darwinism" and natural selection are equitable animals either. I can see some potential overlap, but they're not the same. (At the very least, the first is conscious, the latter is unconscious. The first is also based on arbitrary selection criteria, the latter is based on qualities that result in heightened survival naturally.)
    "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

  7. #27
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Social rules are arbitrary. Despite what Hegel claimed, they change over centuries, they are unpredictable. The qualities required to survive two millenias ago are not the same than in our modern world.
    And the "alpha" males are not the ones who have the most numerous offsprings, unless you are living in Saudi Arabia.

    So Social Darwinism is meaningless. As a social theory, it's flawed from the very start, and as Victor pointed, based on a "vulgar misinterpretation", a deception. According to sociology, the validity of social darwinism is close to zero.
    Social darwinism is only an ideological/political bias, a preference, a self-justification, it has nothing in common with facts or science.

    ---

    On the other hand, the evolution theory is everything BUT arbitrary, and the "laws" are about the same for every living organisms. They doesn't change, even if our interpretation of these laws might differ.
    And evolution is a complex system. Darwinism is only a regulation factor for extreme examples (very impairing evolutionary traits, like the weight caused by deer's antlers), it's not necessarily the main agent. The fittest or the strongest don't always survive, it depends where they live, how they live, well... the context. As a matter of fact, the most evoluted organisms are often the first to disappear, because they are the most fragile when the environment changes.
    A lot of the evolutionary process is generated by cooperation rather than competition or extermination. Again, it's a complex mechanism, that current modern evolutionary theories are only timidly exploring (like those of late S. J. Gould, for instance).
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  8. #28
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    A lot of the evolutionary process is generated by cooperation rather than competition or extermination. Again, it's a complex mechanism, that current modern evolutionary theories are only timidly exploring (like those of late S. J. Gould, for instance).
    An excellent point. Things like medicine and artificial insemination have changed a lot of the dynamics of the whole process. People who at one point wouldn't have survived, or wouldn't have been able to reproduce, now can. Future technologies such as cloning and genetic modification could ultimately prove to be the extinction of ideas like Social Darwinism. Whereas evolutionary theory continues to gain strength with every scientific innovation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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  9. #29
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    An excellent point. Things like medicine and artificial insemination have changed a lot of the dynamics of the whole process. People who at one point wouldn't have survived, or wouldn't have been able to reproduce, now can. Future technologies such as cloning and genetic modification could ultimately prove to be the extinction of ideas like Social Darwinism. Whereas evolutionary theory continues to gain strength with every scientific innovation.
    I disagree... for people who want to keep the idea alive... little changes like technology is hardly going to affect much. I do not know much about history... so correct me if I'm wrong. But I thought the idea of Social Darwinism caught on as a means (justification) to maintain white upper class superiority. Having medicine and artificial insemination is not going to be changing the hierarchical class structure. For only the rich can afford the expensive medical procedures... genetic modification and what not. "Survival of the fittest" it's been the rich and affluent... and to those people, it'll will always remain in their hands.

    Anyways... I've always thought Social Darwinism is a violation of the very basic premise of natural selection... Survival of the fittest... Fitness is determined by the environment... via natural selection. Not by what human think is the best. Acting on human perception, which was what social darwinism was about, would be artificial selection... the very opposite of natural selection.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    I disagree... for people who want to keep the idea alive... little changes like technology is hardly going to affect much.
    No disagreement there. Prejudice will not be deterred by science. As we now know skin color is a relatively arbitrary characteristic resulting from evolutionary changes in melatonin in the skin in relation to exposure to sunlight. And yet many stick to ideas like Social Darwinism to justify the centuries of oppression of other groups based on such a characteristic. As I said in earlier posts, that form of Social Darwinism has no intellectual validity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

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