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Social darwinism

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Social darwinism is the act of an individual, business, or government to attain higher status than all others by taking out the weaker ones through murder, intimidation or unfair practices. Its application can be seen and the philosophy is built upon such thinking as Marxism, Nazism and Fascism.[1] These are all founded upon materialism, naturalism, and secular humanism, with roots in evolutionism. Evolutionism tends to lend justification to all of these as it is rooted in science, which to those following social darwinism can be seen as giving it validity and legitimacy.

Political Philosophy of Evolution and Its Adherents

Chart to describe Nuremberg Laws, 1935. The "Nuremberg Laws" established a pseudo-scientific basis for racial identification
Main Article: Philosophy

As political philosophers accepted the ideas of Darwin they incorporated these ideas into their writings. This gave rise to social Darwinism which is the concepts of evolution applied to race, social systems and structures. These ideas (the struggle for existence, and survival of the fittest through natural selection) became justification for military conquest and preservation of favored races. Political thought became dominated by social Darwinism, especially in Europe, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In fact there is evidence that Darwin taught that human evolution proceeded through warfare and struggle between isolated clans. He said that it was wrong to help the poor since doing so would hinder the evolutionary process.

Social Darwinism reached a peak in Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf (My Struggle), which was strewn with evolutionary thought. Its theme of the supremacy of the Aryan race led to the Jewish holocaust.[1] Hitler also persecuted other races and ethnic groups he considered inferior, such as blacks, gypsies, and Christians. The effect of evolutionism on Hitler’s thinking is not often alluded to, but it lay at the root of his philosophies.[2]

He who would live must fight, he who does not wish to fight in this world where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.[3]

In Italy, Mussolini was completely dominated by evolution, and repeatedly used evolutionary catchwords in his public addresses on fascism. He believed that violence was basic to social transformation. Two of the founders of communism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, were evolutionists. Communism is based upon the theme of class struggle. Marx was an admirer of Darwin, and wanted to dedicate a portion of his book, Das Kapital, to Darwin. But Darwin declined, not wanting to be part of a direct attack upon religion, feeling that that would harm his cause. The philosophies of Marx and Engels were incorporated into the official state religion of the USSR, which was originally called “dialectical materialism,” but later changed to “scientific atheism.”

Darwin’s Origin of Species came along at an opportune time for Marx:

Darwin’s book is very important and serves me as a basis in natural selection for the class struggle in history...[4]


Evolution, especially in the form of social Darwinism, has been used to justify industrial and business monopolies and exploitation of labor. In fact, according to industrialist John D. Rockefeller,

This [use of ruthless business tactics] is not an evil tendency in business. It is merely the working-out of a law of nature and a law of God.

Industrialists felt justified in amassing great fortunes by theories of economic struggle for existence, with evolution as a foundation.


In the early part of the twentieth century, it was commonly believed among scientists that different races were on different rungs of the evolutionary ladder. Blacks were thought to be at the bottom,[note 1] Orientals in the middle, and Caucasians on the top. Slaughter of “inferior” races was justified on the basis of natural selection and survival of the fittest. This line of thought was and still is sometimes reflected in drawings of ape-men with African characteristics.

Outlook on Life

If we’re not creations of God with a purpose and meaning in life, we’re left with a sense of emptiness. After all, if we came from nowhere and are going nowhere, what’s there to live for? This is one of the reasons for the rise in teen suicide, and often expresses itself in the drug culture. Some people try to find meaning in life through drugs, which offer a sort of substitute religion.

Moral Relativism

If evolution is true, there is no God to set any standards of behavior. Biblical concepts then become relics of the past, and there is no right or wrong, no such thing as immorality (“If it’s right for you then its okay”). It’s now considered “immoral” to restrict the “rights” of those wanting to practice premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, etc. Since humans are just animals that are a little higher on the evolutionary scale, and animals do these things, then what’s wrong with doing them?

The overall result has been a general lowering of standards of behavior and expectations, even in the Christian community. The entertainment industry is a prime example. People take for granted today TV programs, movies, video games, music that would have caused outrage in previous generations.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Isaiah 5:20-21

The Devaluation of Human Life

Abortion views the fetus is not really human yet, but still going through the early stages of evolution, abortion is okay—you’re not really killing a human being. In conjunction with abortion, euthanasia is a practice can be justified on the grounds of moral relativism ("what’s right for me is my choice") as discussed above. God’s will is usually left out of the picture.

Evolutionism provides the same basis for discarding or ignoring moral values as Epicureanism did with the ancient Greeks. Epicureans wanted freedom to indulge in every pleasure without consequence: "Eat, drink, & be merry, for tomorrow we die." Many evolutionists also seek unbridled freedom in every area. Evolution justifies freedom from morality, using science to avoid consequences such as pregnancy, STDs, etc. The only remaining obstacle is Christianity.


  1. Henry Fairfield Osborn, the president of the American Museum of Natural History at that time, taught that members of the Negroid race were of some other species than Homo Sapiens! in his own words: "The standard intelligence of the average adult Negro is similar to that of the eleven-year old youth of the species Homo Sapiens" quoted in Morris, Henry (1984). History of Modern Creationism. San Diego, California: Master Book Publishers. p. 49. ISBN 0-89051-102-0. 


  1. 1.0 1.1 Morris, Henry (1984). History of Modern Creationism. San Diego, California: Master Book Publishers. p. 45-56. ISBN 0-89051-102-0. 
  2. The Historical Connection from Darwin to Hitler Evolution News and Views. May 9, 2008.
  3. Mein Kampf, as quoted in Robert E. D. Clark in, Darwin, Before and After, Paternoster Press, London, 1948
  4. Conway Zirkle, Evolution, Marxian Biology, and the Social Scene, Univ. of Penn. Press, 1959, p. 85

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See Also