Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Social Darwinists' Sterilization And Death Laws

Another of Social Darwinism's most wide-ranging practices is eugenics, the so-called science that seeks to improve the human race by means of breeding. The term was first proposed in 1883 by Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, and consists of a combination of two Greek words; eu (good) and genet (birth). Put together, the word implies "well-born," or "genetic soundness." In contrast to its linguistic meaning, however, far from connoting good, this concept leads to savage cruelty.
Supporters of eugenics claimed that only their own race or class needed protection and improvement, and that other races or classes needed to be subjected to "artificial selection." According to Galton, only the British upper class needed such protection. He therefore proposed that the poor, the sick, the weak and the untalented should be prevented from multiplying.
The Nazis, on the other hand, maintained that those who were not healthy Aryans were a burden on the state and needed to be eliminated by means of sterilization or extermination. They then put these ideas into practice. While sterilizing hundreds of thousands as part of their eugenics policy, the Nazis also killed more thousands for being sick, crippled, mentally handicapped, elderly, unskilled or without families, by sending them to the gas chambers, poisoning them, or leaving them to starve.
Proponents of eugenics think that most of the features of a person's character is inherited, or make partial claims to that effect. According to the supporters of eugenics, including Galton himself, undesirable characteristics like laziness or poverty are inherited. Imagining that idle parents would bear idle children, they attempted to prevent these people marrying in the first place. It is interesting how evolutionists could advocate such an illogical and nonsensical claim, in the name of so-called science.
The eugenics supported by Darwinists led to the suffering of a great many. Examining the development of this cruelty will give a better appreciation of the basic foundations of those who supported it. How Darwin supported and encouraged the perversion known as eugenics in the name of so-called science is therefore of great importance. Although the origins of eugenics extend back as far as Plato's Republic, with Darwinism it acquired an alleged scientific appearance and nearly became a branch of science in its own right. Karl Pearson, whose racist views we have already cited and who was strongly influenced by Galton, stated that the theory of evolution underlies the origin of eugenics:
… modern eugenics thought arose only in the nineteenth century. The emergence of interest in eugenics during that century had multiple roots. The most important was the theory of evolution, for Francis Galton's ideas on eugenics – and it was he who created the term "eugenics" – were a direct logical outgrowth of the scientific doctrine elaborated by his cousin, Charles Darwin.103
Darwin's Legacy to His Cousin Galton: Eugenics
The foundations of the perversion of eugenics were actually laid by Malthus and Darwin. Malthus's Essay, Darwin's source of inspiration, contained the basic ideas that would come to constitute eugenics. For example, Malthus claimed that human beings could multiply by means of the same methods as those used for breeding animal stock:
It does not, however, by any means, seem impossible that, by an attention to breed, a certain degree of improvement similar to that among animals might take place among men. Whether intellect could be communicated may be a matter of doubt; but size, strength, beauty, complexion, and, perhaps, even longevity, are in a degree transmissible.104
From this and a great many other statements, Malthus clearly regarded human beings as a kind of animal. His twisted perspective influenced Darwin, who made a number of predictions containing the disaster that was to become eugenics. InThe Descent of Man, he expressed concern that thanks to various social practices, the weak were not being eliminated and that this could lead to a biologically backward trend. According to Darwin, the flawed ones among "savage peoples" and animals were swiftly eliminated, but it was a grave error for such members among civilized people to be protected by medicine and do-gooders. In the same way that animal breeders improved their stock lines through artificial selection, by eliminating the weak and sickly, human societies needed to do the same:
No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.105
With savages, the weak in body and mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. … Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind.106
These words, the work of a diseased mentality, formed the basic encouragement for racists, proponents of eugenics and supporters of war; and eventually inflicted terrible catastrophes on humanity. At the end of The Descent of Man, Darwin made a great many more unscientific claims, including that the "struggle for existence" benefited humanity, in that the more gifted would be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted; and that without it, people would sink into indolence.107 
With these distorted theories, Darwin laid the groundwork for eugenic practices. The theory of evolution being regarded as so-called scientific fact led to eugenist and racist policies being accepted and put into practice.
103. K. Ludmerer, Eugenics, In: Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Edited by Mark Lappe, New York: The Free Press, 1978, p. 457 
104. Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Sixth Edition, 1826, based on the second edition (1803). 
105. Darwin, The Descent of Man, pp.133–134
106. Ibid., p. 133 
107. Ibid,, p. 945 

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