History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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The interaction of theory and theorist: origins of social darwinism

March 13th, 2015 · No Comments

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap2_2_4.htm: Natural Selection
And The Oedipus Paradox
One of the most confusing things about darwinism, or evolutionary theories, is the way they graduate from the physical to the life sciences, in the process confronting a new dimension that can’t easily submit to ‘theories’. With darwinism the strange reality emerges of the non-linear interaction of the theory and a human trying to understand the theory, and in the process applying the theory to his own behavior, as a sort of ‘ought to do this’ in order to evolve since that’s the way things evolve, sez the theory. But this is a confused situation: the theory results from purported ‘observations’ of deep time with a speculative theory about something called ‘evolution’ and the natural selection that goes with it as explanation. But the observations aren’t really secure and the implication that a human actor could consciously apply the theory to his own life ‘to evolve’ has become delusive. It is here that social darwinism arises: the conscious agent thinks he can ‘evolve’ himself and society by applying the speculative consequences of the theory: competition, survival of the fittest….
This situation arises because bad theories fail to honor the boundaries of their original source, and quite the worse speculate about how evolution happened in deep time. The application of that to his own behavior and the injunction socially to do so is a completely imaginary situation.

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