Talk:Social Darwinism

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"Government intervention"[edit]

Computing and commuting and missed the edit summary: sorry. RV "socialism" as having the wrong-in fact nearly the opposite-meaning.--Old Moonraker (talk) 15:04, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

This article needs better clarification to differentiate between the individualist form of social Darwinism and the collectivist form of social Darwinism. Darwinian Collectivism or Reform Darwinism, rather than Social Darwinism or Darwinian Individualism, are more accurate terms for Hitler's Eugenics which is the planned state control of human breeding—a program that no proponent of laissez-faire could consistently endorse. I may tackle this later if nobody gets to it.Origins of the Myth of Social Darwinism: The Ambiguous Legacy of Richard Hofstadter’s Social Darwinism in American Thought (2009), p, 37-51 and Mistaking Eugenics for Social Darwinism: Why Eugenics is Missing from the History of American Economics (2005)--Trueliberal (talk) 17:28, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the links which look useful. As usual, "Darwinism" is misleading as it's a pejorative term for concepts that Darwin himself did not espouse or endorse. Planned state control of human breeding was taken up enthusiastically by people in several states of the U.S., and laws were passed accordingly, it's an interesting question as to whether these American Mendelian eugenicists were proponents of laissez-faire but clearly misleading to call them Darwinists. Not that we can expect them to have been consistent in their endorsements. . . dave souza, talk 10:53, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree very much with Trueliberal. None of the included ideologies: eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, or Nazism are "Darwinist" in either a technical or popular sense. Even "Collective Darwinism" and "Reform Darwinism" are not even remotely descriptive of Darwinism in any but ironic sense, in that Darwin's theory was of NATURAL selection, not artificial selectivity.-- Jane Q. Public (talk) 09:02, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Idiot's Guide[edit]

The Idiot's Guide to world history was written by a high school teacher without a PhD (says and does not meet minimal standards in WP:RS (rule is "we only publish the opinions of reliable authors") -- please use some of the powerful books that are listed in the article. Rjensen (talk) 18:53, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Opening paragraph[edit]

The opening paragraph seems quite confusing, especially the first sentence. It seems to me that it should begin with a simple definition. Something like: Social Darwinism is a belief, popular in the late Victorian era in England, America, and elsewhere, which states that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die.

As it is currently worded it almost sounds like the opposite is true. "Coined by those opposed to survival of the fittest" - ?? I get what you're going for, but that shouldn't be in the opening paragraph.Jasonnewyork (talk) 15:54, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree completely. Buss is neither a neutral observer or a specialist in social darwinism - quite the contrary in fact.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:31, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Bold text==Nazi atrocities== I have specified what "atrocities" are referred to in the lead since they were not so described before.Peterlewis (talk) 16:25, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

And I have removed it again - it doesn't need to specific in the lead but can be explained in detail below. Specifically you can't insert it into a sentence that is supported by a source that doesn't mention that particular issue. The source in fact states that even before WWII the term was generally pejorative, so you make it contradict itself when inserting it like that. Furthermore the Nazi atrocities are already mentioned in the first paragraph.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:28, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I can tell you that social darwinism is the oposite of nazism in the nazi system the state decides who lives or dies in social darwinism success or failure happens naturally acording to each individual and their work ethic or lack of one Irishfrisian (talk) 23:44, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

That is a valid interpretation - but it ignores the fact that (negative) eugenics have generally been considered to be the active form of selection - a kind of "speeding up nature", in a similar way to how "breeding/artificial selection" is an active human directed kind of natural selection. Spencer did not believe that active efforts were required - he thought the cream would rise to the top automatically (or that it already had - explaining his own privileged position). Darwin's cousin Galton thought nature might need a little push so that we wouldn't have to wait so long for the plebes to die off by themselves. The Nazi Eugenics (an other programmes in the US and Europe) program drew on Galton. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:04, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Hmm. From our Francis Galton article, he believed that a scheme of 'marks' for family merit should be defined, and early marriage between families of high rank be encouraged by provision of monetary incentives. He pointed out some of the tendencies in British society, such as the late marriages of eminent people, and the paucity of their children, which he thought were dysgenic. He advocated encouraging eugenic marriages by supplying able couples with incentives to have children. Doesn't sound much like Nazi eugenics which were based on Eugenics in the United States, and so were racist rather than class based. No evidence the Nazis drew on Galton. . dave souza, talk 10:00, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Referenc to 'naturalistic fallacy' is misleading[edit]

Just reading the last sentence in the introduction, I think that's poorly written. My understanding is:

- one *can* start with darwins theory and apply it to society to arrive at social darwinism, in a strictly technical, amoral context, but
- one *does not necessarily* have to arrive at social darwinism from this starting point (per the first reference), and quite distinctly:
- if one introduces the entire dimension of morality, then one cannot use darwinism as a moral justification for the consequences of social darwinism (hence the invocation of the naturalistic fallacy).

The problem is, a cursory reading of that might easily go like:

- scholars have said that social darwinism doesn't follow from darwin's theory, and - using darwin's theory to arrive at social darwinism is a naturalistic fallacy, and - (following the link to naturalistic fallacy) this is probably a 'formal fallacy', ergo, the link between social darwinism and darwin's theory has been formally shown to be false.

Now, that's a completely incorrect statement, but it's a bit too easy to misapprehend (I know, because that's exactly how I just read it, until I did a double take and read around it a bit). I think this needs to be much more clearly worded, either to make it clear that the reference to 'naturalistic fallacy' is only applicable if you introduce a 'moral' dimension to the equation, which is quite aside from a logical progression or commonality between the two concepts, or else and maybe better just to remove the reference to avoid muddying the waters for the casual reader.

thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Vague terminology[edit]

The second paragraph is vague and misleading viz. -

In sociology it has been defined as a theory of social evolution which asserts that "There are underlying, and largely irresistible, forces acting in societies which are like the natural forces that operate in animal and plant communities. One can therefore formulate social laws similar to natural ones. These social forces are of such a kind as to produce evolutionary progress through the natural conflicts between social groups. The best-adapted and most successful social groups survive these conflicts, raising the evolutionary level of society generally (the 'survival of the fittest')."[5]

What is the "the evolutionary level of society" and can it be "raised"?

--Craigmac41 (talk) 21:06, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Darwin's theory is racist[edit]

The following sentence of Darwin in the article requires explanation, for the article to explain social darwinism, rather than promote it.

"Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature"

Here Darwin commits the essential social darwinist error to make matters of good and bad, into matters of fact. A measurable good (noble) nature, and a measurable bad nature.

Darwin does not subjectively acknowlege any spiritual domain, therefore he is forced to make all issues of the worth of people into issues of measurable facts. Darwin wrote a book about emotions in which he objectifies all emotions, discounting the idea that love and hate are only subjectively identified, and not measurable. Morality is derived from what is found to be hateful and loving, therefore for Darwin to identify love and hate as matters of fact, intstead of leaving them a matter of subjective opinion, is already committing the naturalistic fallacy. --Syamsu (talk) 19:20, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

You seem to be committing the antisocial Darwinist error of soapboxing rather than providing reliable sources showing significant views on the topic. . dave souza, talk 20:36, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
p.s. Darwin's theory opposed racism: i.e. "after starting Darwin’s Sacred Cause about two years ago, we clinched the 'common descent' angle and pieced together how Darwin's research for the book that became The Origin of Species effectively combated the rising `scientific racism’ in America and Britain."[1] There are nuances, but that's a significant scholarly view. . . dave souza, talk 21:08, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
To make value judgements of people in accordance with material characteristics, and then derived from natural selection theory. I believe Gould said this was the main point of social darwinism, and that this was wrong, the naturalistic fallacy. Darwin commits this naturalistic fallacy, right here in the social darwinism section, you do also commit that fallacy I gather. I shudder to think what will happen to the people you pseudoscientifically see as being hateful. You cannot possibly let this quote of Darwin stand there to increase social darwinism through wiki. --Syamsu (talk) 00:26, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
You seem to not understand what Darwin is saying in that quote - he is saying that humans should always help each other, because if we don't we will no longer be the kinds of humans we ought to. He is making the opposite argument of social Darwinism in this quote. He does espouse viewpoints similar to Social Darwinism in some of his other works, but not in this quote. He also makes statements that we would think of as racist, but pretty much everyone did back then, and he was a lot less viciously racist than many other people writing at the time. There is nothing inherently racist or social Darwinist in Darwin's evolutionary theorty, and both racism and social Darwinism (not so named of course) existed before Darwin. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:01, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
I know many modern social darwinists make the same kind of argument that Darwinism promotes cooperation. But the virulence is in making it a scientifically certain fact what love and hate consists of. When I normally say "you are a loving person", then I do that based on my self-confidence trusting my subjective opinion. When I say "it is a matter of scientific fact that you are a loving person", then that basically destroys my own subjective opinion, and replaces it with a scientific calculation, it destroys my character. So you see even scientific judgement about being loving are extremely destructive, let alone scientific pronouncements of hatefulness. Think this through carefully step by step, Darwin commits the naturalistic fallacy himself.--Syamsu (talk) 01:16, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that Darwin commits the naturalistic fallacy frequently (in Descent of Man) - but doing that is not the same as promoting social Darwinism (which is a set of ideas about how to structure a society based on evolutionary calculus). The problem you describe is more a problem inherent in the idea of objective science itself.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:53, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @ Syamsu, what proposals do you have for improving the article? All you seem to have shown is that you judge people on their religious beliefs or views. . . dave souza, talk 07:12, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Obama and social darwinism[edit]

I added that Obama used this term to criticize Republicans and it was deleted as "not relevant". On what planet is the use of mostly forgotten 100-year-old term by a head of state not relevant? Obama's use of the term has generated a ton of press and brought this idea into the public eye in a way it hasn't been for a long time. To say that's not relevant is inherently ludicrous. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 19:29, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Its recentism and has no impact or relvance for the general concept that a politician uses it as a pejorative. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:34, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

I would say it does have relevance simply due to how rarely the term is used in modern day politics. The large number of news articles both explaining and arguing about what it means is testament to that. And I would say that a complete history of the term is incomplete without mentioning its recent resurgence, after a long absence from politics. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 19:39, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't think one mention qualifies as a resurgence.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:46, 6 April 2012 (UTC)


The introduction mentions 'Hawkins'. It seems that a more complete name or description should be used. It acts as if this has already happened.

Nantucketnoon (talk) 05:04, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

That came from the following rather incoherent wording discussing a debate which is not covered in the body of the article, and hence doesn't belong in the lead so I've moved it here for discussion:

Others<ref>Hawkins 2000</ref><ref>Dickens 2003</ref> have argued that Social Darwinism should be understood more broadly as a system of thought that perhaps predates Darwin himself and which includes all attempts to explain social change as an evolutionary process, especially those that see biological change as underlying and motivating social change. Hawkins furthermore argues that Darwin himself was a proponent of some aspects of Social Darwinism under this definition, while many other scholars tend to downplay Darwin's statements about the possible political consequences of his theory.

No page numbers are given, and it doesn't seem to tally very well with a scan of the opening pages of the book by Hawkins on Google Books. If this is significant, it should be properly developed in the body of the article before being summarised in the lead. . dave souza, talk 05:58, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Its Mike Hawkins. Social Darwinism in European and American Thought 1860 - 1945. I have it here on my desk and I will be teaching it over the summer. I must have forgotten to include it in the bibliography when I fixed the lead which earlier was based entirely on Bannister's outdated critique of Hofstadter. Dickens is "Peter Dickens, Social Darwinism, Open University Press, 2000" which is equally critical of Bannisters definition and usage of the concept.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:08, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I've reverted your edit which again removes criticisms of Bannister (if they are removed then remove bannister as well) and makes the untenable claim that Social Darwinism is only used after 1944. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:11, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
The sources we have show that the term was rare, though in occasional use, before Richard Hofstadter popularised the term in 1944. As suggested, I've removed Bannister from the lead as well. We can rephrase the opening, but should not give the impression that the term was in common use before that. Both books you mention are shown in secondary sources, but whatever their argument it's not shown in the body of the article where they belong. Once that's clarified any significant points they raise can be summarised in the lead. . dave souza, talk 12:21, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't matter since when it was in use - what matters is what it means now.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:27, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Now the article doesn't make any mention of the debate from Hoftstadter to Bannister to contemporary treatments like Hawkins and Dickens and Claeys. That is - it leaves out the most recent scholarship on the topic. These scholars correct for the error in earlier scholarship that equates the ideology of social darwinism with the word and has it that there can be no social darwinism before the word is in common usage. This is of course wrong and nonsensical - something must be there before it can be named - and the set of ideas now called social Darwinism existed and were common even before Darwin and they were also espoused by many social thinkers who did not explicitly use the Darwinian idiom. This is argued by both Hawkins and Dickens - who argue for a broader definition of social Darwinism than used by Bannister - one that includes all approaches that use biological reasoning to justify social policies. This is the most current definition of the term and also has the added virtue that it most closely resembles the ordinary language usage. The article is currently misrepresenting scholarly debate on the topic.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:27, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
That sounds better, we should be clear that the term is modern but refers to earlier ideologies or ideas, many of which predated Darwin. The recent scholarship on the topic should be shown in the article itself, and to an appropriate extent should be summarised in the lead. Perhaps we can be clearer that Darwinism covered a multitude of ideas which informed social debate at the time, while the modern term social Darwinism has arisen from usage denigrating these ideas, and is often still derogatory. There's also the question of whether it applies to ideas of social cooperation and mutual aid. . dave souza, talk 15:29, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that makes sense. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:12, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that looks like a way forward. As a fun aside, the Grauniad provided an early example: "I have received in a Manchester Newspaper a rather a good squib, showing that I have proved 'might is right', & therefore that Napoleon is right & every cheating Tradesman is also right", from the Manchester Guardian, 20 April 1860, p. 4, article titled "National and individual rapacity vindicated by the law of nature", "Letter 2782 — Darwin, C. R. to Lyell, Charles, 4 May (1860)".  . . dave souza, talk 19:59, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


Coatracking citations together isn't an indication of a view being weighty or demonstrative in a field. In this case the individual creationist critiques are primary sources, and it is important to find the secondary source that notes that they are significant. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:30, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Social Darwinism as pejorative term[edit]

In the second paragraph, the last phrase, that leads to the 3rd reference in this time, says "because of the negative connotations of the theory of social Darwinism" and ends with "and the term is generally seen as pejorative". In the same sentence, the same idea is presented, so I think we could suppress one of these terms. I would rather take out the last one, "and the term is generally seen as pejorative", because it is only repeating what was already exposed. The text shall gain a little more coherence with this alteration. --Igor Dalmy (talk) 14:21, 13 March 2013 (UTC)


The section on Carnegie is highly misleading. Yes, he was a philanthropist, but he was against almsgiving and raising wages for workers because of his social Darwinist ideas. Read the Gospel of Wealth. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)


There are several studies (real scholarship, not creationists) that argue that Darwin did hold a view that was a kind of social darwinism, and that this was particularly prominent in later editions of Descent of Man, when Darwin had become more influenced by Herbert Spencer's ideas. Any discussion of this in the article should of course be done seriously and with delicacy and a good sense of balance. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:06, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

See e.g. [2] Richard Weikart. 2009.Was Darwin or Spencer the father of laissez-faire social Darwinism? Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization Volume 71, Issue 1, July 2009, Pages 20–28.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:09, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Richard Weikart. 1993. The Origins of Social Darwinism in Germany, 1859-1895 Journal of the History of Ideas , Vol. 54, No. 3 (Jul., 1993), pp. 469-488 ("Scholars are sharply divided over whether Darwin was a Social Darwinist or not, largely because of the ambiguity of his position in this book<descent of man>.)
Richard Weikart. 1995. A Recently Discovered Darwin Letter on Social Darwinism. Isis , Vol. 86, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 609-611
Gregory Claeys. 2000. The "Survival of the Fittest" and the Origins of Social Darwinism. Journal of the History of Ideas , Vol. 61, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 223-240 ("r. Instead it was the product of a debate in the 1860s, in which Darwin accepted the application of natural selection to humanity by other writers and incorporated it into his own views, with others following suit, craft- ing a language of exclusion which was internally directed at class antagonism and externally to racial conflict." "In the mid- 860s Darwin himself became in effect a Social Darwinist, and came increasingly to hope that the optimal outcome of human natural selection would be the triumph of "the intellectual and moral" races over the "lower and more degraded ones." It must be stressed that this was not the inevitable outcome of the logic of the Origin of Species nor the only path Darwin might have trod but the specific result of his reaction to a variety of critics and fellow philosophers. In this sense too, then, "Social Darwinism" was not as such "Darwinian" but the result of Darwin's acceptance of other interpretations of evolutionary theory, some of which were incorporated into the Descent of Man.")User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:20, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I did not realize that Weikart is connected to the Discovery Institute. Nonetheless, I don't think this makes his research less valid, especially not when used carefully, to simply state that there is debate about Darwin's views on Social evolution. other scholars such as Mike Hawkins and Richard Claeys have come to very similar conclusions. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:30, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Unclear definition[edit]

Although I don't know what social Darwinism is, this article currently couldn't be less clear on what it is. It opens:

Social Darwinism is an ideology of society that seeks to apply biological concepts of Darwinism or of evolutionary theory to sociology and politics, often with the assumption that conflict between groups in society leads to social progress as superior groups outcompete inferior ones.

And immediately continues:

The name social Darwinism is a modern name given to the various theories of society [...], which, it is alleged, sought to apply biological concepts to sociology and politics.

The second paragraph seems to repeat the first but putting its validity into doubt. The only other defining part I see is:

Social Darwinism is generally understood to use the concepts of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest to justify social policies which make no distinction between those able to support themselves and those unable to support themselves.

Let's take that as granted, but then how is it understood ungenerally?

After the lead, I found:

As social Darwinism has many definitions, it is hard for some to be either for or against it; some of the definitions oppose the others.

So what are these many definitions? If social Darwinism has many definitions, why don't we start by warning about that, rather than going into the controversies on its history and then the strong and weak aspects of a hardly defined topic? --Chealer (talk) 04:12, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

The essential point, which has been removed from the first paragraph of the lead, is that "social Darwinism" is a pejorative used to denote immoral ideologies, supposedly based on struggle for survival or "might makes right". Per Leonard, "American historiography largely understands “social Darwinism” not as the influence of Darwinian ideas upon social science but as an indictment. Indeed, the indictment is so broadly written that even social Darwinism’s traditional exemplars, Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, are accused of views they did not hold."[3] There may be an academic definition somewhere, but clearly it's contested. The first paragraph at present lacks any citations. I suggest Bowler pp. 298–299: "There is no single form of social Darwinism, only a complex of often contradictory ideologies exploiting the model of the survival of the fittest in different ways", [a model often based on Lamarckism rather than Darwinian evolutionism], "The term social Darwinism was introduced only in the late nineteenth century and was used from the start in a pejorative context. To call someone a social Darwinist was to insult them by implying that they had abandoned all moral standards to make success the only criterion for what is good." . . dave souza, talk 18:36, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Dave, that is because it is not true. Pace leonard, the usage is not just pejorative - it does describe the application of Darwinian logics to the social sciences. It is of course not any single well defined concept but used to describe any application of Darwinian logics to describing society and social processes. Hawkins describes this quite well and establish a definition that has been used by others after him e.g. Claeys and Weikart. Bannister's argument is not currently considered to be valid by most people writing about social darwinism as far as I can tell.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:04, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Maunus, part of the problem is that the opening paragraph of the lead implies that it is "an ideology", we should clarify that it is "not any single well defined concept". Your argument that it is not true that usage is primarily pejorative is original research set against Bowler's published expert overview of the relevant sciences, and your argument fails for at least two reasons:
1) Bowler is aware of Hawkins, and cites his book as "a more recent exposition" of "the view that late-nineteenth-century social thought was dominated by the Darwinian metaphor of the struggle for existence" as classically set out by Hofstadter. His evaluation clearly differs from yours.
2) Richard Weikart himself is a clear example of pejorative use of the term, in line with the intelligent design creationist devotion to "Defeating Darwinism" as published and publicised in 1991, at a time when he was working on his doctorate. His CV shows Research Fellowships from the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture from 1997 to 2001, and he is listed as a fellow of that organisation[4] which provided "crucial funding and much encouragement" for From Darwin to Hitler. Bowler in his 2009 foreword writes "Because of Weikart's own beliefs, the debate over his book feeds into the more general modern controversies over creationism and the intelligent design movement now becoming active throughout the world. Every effort is being made to discredit Darwinism both by questioning its scientific credentials and by claiming that it has harmful moral and social implications." . . dave souza, talk 05:52, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

A definition[edit]

Unsurprisingly, Weikart gives a favourable review to Social Darwinism in European and American Thought 1860-1945 by Mike Hawkins. Bearing in mind that there are competing definitions, Weikart summarises it thus;
"He defines Social Darwinism as a world view containing the following five beliefs: 1) biological laws govern all of nature, including humans, 2) Malthusian population pressure produces a struggle for existence, 3) physical and mental traits providing an advantage to individuals or species would spread, 4) selection and inheritance would produce new species and eliminate others, and 5) natural laws (including the four above) extend to human social existence, including morality and religion. Those embracing these fundamental points are Social Darwinists, whether they are militarists or pacifists, laissez-faire proponents or socialists."
There are obvious inaccuracies in this as science, not least the misinterpretation of scientific laws and the idea that selection and inheritance are producing new species of humans, directly contrary to Darwin's work. Is it worth summarising it as one view? . . dave souza, talk 07:31, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

p.s. according to our article, "It attempts to give a firm definition to what Darwinism was and is." Can someone find that definition? Darwinism has of course meant several very different things at different times and in different contexts. . . dave souza, talk 07:57, 3 July 2013 (UTC)


Shouldn't communism and Marxist socialism ideology also included? Although in theory communism is opposes social darwinism as makes the assumption that individuals will work towards a common good at the expense of individual benefit. In reality this shift means that "Darwinian collectivism" takes place to stratify population. (talk) 19:35, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Adolf Eichmann on social Darwinism[edit]

Robert C. Williams, in The Historian's Toolbox: A Student's Guide to the Theory and Craft of History, 3rd Ed. (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2012), p. 57, quotes Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They say It? (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000) as they discuss the Wansee Protocol:

Eichmann explains that a natural selection (naturliche Auslese) in the Darwinian sense will make these Jews the most resistant (to death by exhaustion), meaning they will be the fittest--the youngest, healthiest, smartest, etc. Should this population of naturally selected Jews survive, they might (Eichmann fears) "become the germ-cell of a new Jewish revival." History, Eichmann points out, supports this theory of social Darwinism.

Seems there should be some mention of this in section 8.3.Yopienso (talk) 22:36, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Biased, tendencious statements and lack of neutrality in the lede.[edit]

I want to express my disagreement with the lede of the article. First of all, from the beginning, the article is written in a defensive style. With statements like "creationists have often maintained that social Darwinism..." it first misrepresents the study of the topic with the idea that criticism of Social Darwinism is something that merely has to be associated with creationists who disagree with the Darwin's theory of evolution (creationists vs. evolutionists). It is known that agnostics like Stephen Jay Gould, Rudolf Virchow and a numer of other irreligious authors and sociologists, including evolutionists, have directly recognized the link between Darwin's theory and Social Darwinism. This is the case of Maurice Duverger,

Second, the statement "Social Darwinism owed more to Herbert Spencer's ideas, '---together with genetics and a Protestant Nonconfirmist tradition with roots in Hobbes and Malthus, than to Charles Darwin's research----" This totally mispresents the alleged definition of a social theory, on the basis of religious implications (in the end, it gives the idea of Christians vs. agnostics/atheists). Why Malthus' and Hobbes' alleged religious tradition is mentioned, and not Spencer's, Leonard Darwin's, and Pearson's?, (for instance). It is evidently biased and highly misleading anyone who wants to study seriously this topic. Whosoever wrote it, was tendenciously defending Darwin from the beginning, and pretending to blame instead "genetics" and "Protestant nonconformism". This is totally wrong! Come on! The reasoning implied is that Social Darwinists have their origin in "protestant nonconformim" which is ridiculous. When you say "protestant nonconformists", you are including, in general, reformed Christians, puritans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists, all of which were people who strictly speaking had absolutely nothing to do with social darwinism, since, first of all, they were not involved in scientific theories, and believed in the Bible. Any honest student of history, regardless of their religious position, can see the irrelevance and dirty tendency of mixing these things.

I understand Malthus' influence on Darwin, and therefore, on Social Darwinism, but Malthus and Hobbes were not, by any means, leaders of "Protestant nonconformism" and the last of these was even accused of atheism. It was neither "genetics" in general, since in the first half on the 20th centhruy genetics was in diapers. As history shows the fallacies of the biased arguments, I though it would be necessary to correct this, but my edition was reverted. I just ask you to please understand it, and admit that the reference is just a biased opinion, without supported arguments, coming from an anti-religious and anti-protestant site.

There is not a concensus or majoritarian viewpoint to says that "most scholars ... maintain that social Darwinism is not a necessary consequence of the principles of biological evolution." This by no means is encyclopedically neutral. It is favouring an opinion. But, first of all there is not a unified opinion, and MANY are the authors that think just the opposite, i.e. that Darwin's theory of evolution was the major source of social darwinism. I think that, therefore, there should be a balance in the style. Evoking the need for neutrality in wikipedia articles, I propose a statement which would express the truth; that usually, Darwin's supporters and advocates state that social Darwinism is not a necessary consequence of the principles of biological evolution, or Darwin's theory, though Darwin's detractors and critics often mantain the opposite.--Goose friend (talk) 01:59, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

I fully agree. Reading this article for the first time, it immediately came off as one that is biased towards defending and justifying Darwinism. The section about Nazi Germany starts off with 2 paragraphs that are neutral in tone and informative. It is then followed by a paragraphs which is a mess; it introduces "claims" and criticism to those claims, for an argument that is not at all apparent. The first 2 paragraphs already show the link between the Nazi ideology and Darwinism; why do the following paragraphs then try to deny the existence of this very link?
The 4th and 5th paragraph are also only loosely connected to the subject of the section, in that the former is not even about Nazi Germany and the latter expands on a miss-view of what the Nazi ideology would be built on if not Darwinism. This section would be greatly improved by removing the whole 'supposed argument', and instead expanding on links (or the lack thereof) between the Nazi ideology and Darwinism, or adding details, examples or nuances.


Reference to Hobbes' views is incorrect, for he believed in Stoicism as much as Darwin or "the judicious Hooker" and clearly felt mankind should come together to survive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

WHO "claims to apply biological concepts" to economics and poltics?[edit]

The summary of what I recall from the history of this subject is that it's no more a serious "application of biological concepts" to economics and politics than "savage capitalism" is an endeavor seeking to apply notions of predation zoology or anthropology of jungle-dwellers to capitalism. Actually, the influence would have been more the other way around, according to some (Desmond and Moore?), with the socioeconomic mores of the time of Darwin influencing his views of natural phenomena. With Herbert Spencer himself being credited with the phrase "survival of the fittest", not borrowing it from Darwin's biology. In the present-day zeitgeist it also seems to be a considerably extremish-left term, which often paints what seems to be a harsher picture of individuals such as Spencer himself and Malthus, in biased readings that could just as well have added Jonathan Swift to the mix as a real advocate of the cannibalism of poor children. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:37, 18 August 2016 (UTC)