Darwinism Applied to Society-10/20

In The Origin of Species, Darwin presents his theory of natural selection. While he is speaking scientifically, he does use humans as an example to support his argument, “No country can be named in which all the native inhabitants are now so perfectly adapted to each other and to the physical conditions under which they live, that none of them could anyhow be improved; for in all countries, the natives have been so far conquered by
naturalized productions, that they have allowed foreigners to take firm possession of the land. And as foreigners have thus everywhere beaten some of the natives, we may safely conclude that the natives might have been modified with advantage, so as to have better resisted such intruders.” (pg. 103).

This ‘example’ of how nature has room to improve, and that natural selection is just a process of learning how to survive better is extremely problematic when you try to apply it to human society instead of genetic traits. He implies here that all the native people of other countries just didn’t evolve well enough to prevent their own oppression. This implies that the oppressors (in this case Europeans) are somehow more evolved because they weren’t oppressed by foreigners. While he did not believe in Social Darwinism, do you think that phrasing his argument like this could have contributed to it? Why was that such a popular idea among the upper class in Europe, and what purpose did it serve?

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