How Social Darwinism Shaped the Modern World

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 2
Words: 319
Reading time:
2 min

Social Darwinism can be defined as a given number of non-conclusive ideologies that found their way into society in the 1800s. These ideologies used Charles Darwin’s natural selection theory to try and justify some given social, political, or economic views. These people who believed in Darwin’s theory could be referred to as social Darwinists. They believed in the idea of “the survival of the fittest” to be construed to mean that some people become powerful or successful as compared to others because they are naturally better than them. Social Darwinism has greatly been an excuse used by individuals who want to justify racism, imperialism, eugenic, and social inequality. Darwin’s explanation of the survival of the fittest was to elucidate the way different animal and plant species vary and how these differences support or infringe on their survival. Darwin did not know that his theory would later have social and political implications.

Social Darwinism has been defined as scientific racism by some individuals. Scientific racism is a situation where some people think that a given group of persons or ethnic group are either superior or inferior. It also couples up with the thought that other people are more evolved or less evolved than others. For instance, the belief that your race dictates your character and personality is one way of justifying scientific racism. Belief in the hierarchy of races is also seen to be scientific racism in action. Those who believe in scientific racism tend to argue that dissimilar races are different types of human beings, and they further claim that others not being human at all. Social Darwinism has been the reason behind the stereotype of races with given traits. Gene purity sentiments have been used by Darwinists as alluded to the Darwinian survival of the fittest theory. Discrimination against women and seeing them as inferior human beings also represents social Darwinism.